If you've ever cut yourself with a small paring knife while cutting up fruit, you know that even the smallest tools have the potential to cause some serious damage. No matter what size power tool or your level of expertise, it is important to follow certain safety rules every time they are used. A little bit of carelessness can make the difference between nine and ten fingers, so it is always best to err on the side of caution.
Before powering up, you need to dress the part. Always wear goggles, masks, and earplugs when necessary. Clothes should be fitted appropriately and cover your body (that means sandals and shorts are not such a good idea).
Long hair should be tied back and any jewelry removed as it may become tangled or caught in equipment. It is also important that you feel up to the task of completing your project. Do not use power tools if you are sick, on medication that can impair judgment, or under the influence of alcohol.
Any machinery needs to be checked and maintained before use. Never use dull blades or equipment with rust. Inspect the power tools to see that handles and bolts are tightly screwed in and that all parts are in proper working order. If something is loose or appears to be broken, do not attempt to repair it unless you have experience and do not use it until it is properly fixed.
Check that all power cords have no cuts or frays. If required, batteries should also be checked for leaks. All tools should be stored in a safe, dry place and locked away if necessary. Make sure that materials such as oily rags and other flammable objects are stored appropriately as well.
When possible, you should always work in well-ventilated and lit areas. The floor should be dry and free of debris. If you must work outdoors in muddy conditions, avoid using power tools when possible, or ensure that you work on a dry area and do not touch a grounded object. Electrocution is possible, so avoid standing near water and make sure that power cords and your hands remain dry.
If working indoors, make sure that a well-stocked first aid kit is handy and that the workstation is equipped with appropriate safety measures such as working smoke alarms. Do not overload outlets and when using extension cords, be sure to use the correct length rather than connecting several small ones.
While using power tools, focus all of your attention to the task at hand. Do not take your eyes off what you are doing. If you become distracted, turn off the machine when it is safe rather than attempting to finish the job. Keep your hands away from sharp blades.
If you must remove debris from a cutting table, rather than use your hands, utilize a scrap piece of wood to clear the area. Always follow safety instruction manuals and use the proper accessories that are manufactured specifically for that device. It is also important to use the correct tool for the specific job. If you are unsure of which one to use, ask a professional.